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See also: précipitation


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From Middle French précipitation, from Latin praecipitātiō, praecipitātiōnem.


  • (US, UK) IPA(key): /pɹɪˌsɪpɪˈteɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


precipitation (countable and uncountable, plural precipitations)

  1. (meteorology) Any or all of the forms of water particles, whether liquid or solid, that fall from the upper atmosphere (e.g., rain, hail, snow or sleet). It is a major class of hydrometeor, but it is distinguished from cloud, fog, dew, rime, frost, etc., in that it must fall. It is distinguished from cloud and virga in that it must reach the ground.
    • 2019, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      South Korea’s Ministry of Environment said in a news release that no major precipitation was observed after the cloud seeding operation.
  2. A hurried headlong fall.
  3. (countable, uncountable, chemistry) A reaction that leads to the formation of a heavier solid in a lighter liquid; the precipitate so formed at the bottom of the container.
  4. (figurative) Unwise or rash rapidity; sudden haste.
    • 1838, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Duty and Inclination, volume III, London: Henry Colburn, page 49:
      Immediately on returning home, highly satisfied with the result of his visit to Mrs. Belmour, Melliphant found on his table a letter from Sir Howard, over which he cast his eyes with precipitation.
    • 1859 December 13, Charles Dickens, “The Mortals in the House”, in Charles Dickens, editor, The Haunted House. The Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round [], volume II, London: [] C. Whiting, [], →OCLC, page 6, column 1:
      The young man thanked me, and took his leave with some little precipitation, after declining a glass of liquor.
    • 1933, Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise:
      [] had acted with some precipitation and had probably started out upon a wild-goose chase.


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